Monday, August 19, 2013

My Dream Life

A few weeks ago, a friend challenged me to imagine my dream life. Herein lies the unedited stream-of-consciousness answer to her thought-provoking question.

I want to cook. Whether it be exotic or homey, it will all be from scratch, and my friends (or my children's friends) will be welcome to pop over whenever they like. They can chat or read or do and say nothing at all while I finish up in the kitchen. There will always be hot chocolate on or tea, or a pitcher of fresh lemonade in the fridge.

I want my home to be a place where people feel like they can be completely themselves. They can talk or be silent if they want to, and it's all the same because we're together and we love each other. Like with Sarahbeth. Just that complete comfortableness.

And light! I want my walls to all be pale, soft colors with plenty of white everywhere. I want a home full of windows that catch the natural light and make the place glow. And I want people to feel light and peace when they're there.

I want a quiet home but a happy one. No shouting. No yelling. No screaming. Like David O. McKay said, the only reason to raise your voice will be if there's a fire. None of this bellowing conversations through doors and down hallways. There will be a spirit of patience and courtesy.

Laughter and singing and the outward expressions of love. A powerful Gentleness pervading everything.

Books everywhere!

Black & white movies.

Plants lining every windowsill.

A little house in a big yard where we never cut the grass unless we want to. Green, green grass. And trees. And flowers. Mmmm...trumpet vines and lilacs and columbine.

Small town.


A little house, but an open one. No cramped quarters.

Like an old-fashioned cottage with old-fashioned people and old-fashioned domesticity, and rocking chairs on the porch.

Somewhere with rainstorms. Oh! give me somewhere with rainstorms.
Somewhere where the earth brightens in the spring and gets lazy in the summer and crisp and delicious in the autumn and cozy, snuggle-by-the-fire in the winter.

Travel. So much travel. Europe, Europe, Europe. But always with home waiting at the other end.

Home. Capital-H Home.

No one in a hurry.

Peace and quiet and serenity and gentle affection.

This dream life of mine is idyllic and may seem unreasonably idealistic, but I do not naively expect it to materialize. There will be storms; I will sail my ship through them. There will be monsters; I will tame them. This is not something I hope to find by chance. It is something I will build.

Friday, August 16, 2013

I Just Wasn't Made for These Times

It turns out there's this thing called the iPhone Photography Awards, and looking at this year's winners today, I got to thinking about laundry.

It's so dreamy...
(gallery of the victors)

But more on that in a bit.

The Beach Boys have this song, "I Just Wasn't Made for These Times." Actually, I had no idea it was by The Beach Boys until I started writing this. (Actually, I didn't know it was a song, either.) The line was just a snatch of quote caught in my mind, something remembered, I'm fairly sure, from the title of a TV show episode, though I couldn't say which show. It surfaced on the ocean of my mind as something entirely relevant, and as I like to know what I'm quoting when I quote things, I popped it into Google and found this:

A very Beach Boys-sounding song to be sure, and while my heart is very much in line with the chorus and the title, our whys are very different. They're singing about "look[ing] for places / Where new things might be found," but I feel like a stranger in this new place they were looking for all those years ago.

I just wasn't made for these times.

I've always felt I was an old soul, but lately I've been fitting the pieces together and realizing just how deep the trueness of that goes.

For the most part, my tastes and talents are better suited for a bygone age (although, admittedly, I do rather love TV and Pinterest). 

Take, for instance, laundry. (Half a dozen people just smiled. They know what's coming.) I'm funny about my laundry. I don't like putting shirts or pants in the dryer (which leaves little enough the energy cost isn't worth running the rest through, unless I've a mess of towels to be dried, or a blanket). I'll spare you the myriad reasons as to why I'm anti-dryer (maybe another time, hm?), but the fact of the matter is, I don't just like hang drying my clothes, I like hanging my clothes up to dry. As in, I want a clothesline outside and an old coffee can full of clothespins for a dryer. I thoroughly enjoy hanging my clothes out on the line, and as the iPhone Photography Awards demonstrate, the effect can be quite pretty.* I would rather tediously pin my wash to a line than dry my clothes in any other way.

Likewise, I would rather hand whip my cream than use an electric mixer (though I have had to admit defeat on occasion).

I aspire to cook everything from scratch.

Sweeping! I love sweeping. It has been brought to my attention that there are people who vacuum their hard floors, but that just boggles my mind. Hand me a broom and stand back, and forgive me if I hum that dreamy tune from Cinderella while I work. Someday, I shall have a house with all hard floors (wood, tile, what-have-you) scattered with area rugs (I rather detest this whole "wall-to-wall carpeting" fad). I may even experiment with beating my rugs instead of vacuuming (that one's a little less certain). 

It's not just that I enjoy these things or that I find them therapeutic and satisfying. I have a natural gift for Skills All Young Ladies Should Have, 1875 Edition. For instance, in sewing class in high school, I absolutely mangled the paper outlines we were supposed to practice feeding through a sewing machine, but as soon as I got some real cloth to work with, you wouldn't have known I'd just started. My cross-stitching, while not expert, is neat and comely and looks nothing like the disaster a first attempt in fifteen years should resemble. On my first go, I took to knitting like a duck to water. It only took me two crepes to figure out the trick to those fiddly little French flapjacks. My penmanship only grows more and more lovely. I was actually taught cursive a year early in elementary school because my print was so good. 

Maybe all this goes to show is that I'm good at following directions, but I think it's more than that. These things, they just felt right from the start. They fit.

The modern world seems to want me to be ambitious and career-oriented (even in LDS circles where marriage and families and traditional roles are lauded and encouraged, with "encouraged" being a mild term). 

"What kind of job do you want?" "What are you going to do with your degree?" Frankly, my dear...

My temperament ill suits me for playing the part of a modern woman. I'm a homebody with an urge to nurture and the skill set to make a place a home. That's not to say that I'm going to wait around for some bloke to make me a housewife. No. While I dream of love and companionship, I will build my quiet life now, with what I have.

The world grossly undervalues things like quiet and softness.

I just wasn't made for these times.

*You know, the more I look at that photo, the less sure I am that that's what's going on, but danged if I can figure out why all those shirts (are they shirts?) appear to be buttoned together. Laundry is what came to mind, so laundry it is.